that’s a wrap

Another year has come and gone, with it another run of Nutcracker. It is a long and draining experience, but I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if I hadn’t been doing Nutcracker these last nine years. Now that this run of shows is over, it feels so bittersweet. I’m grateful to get some rest, but I wasn’t ready for it to be over.

sensory friendly performance

We got right back into the swing of things last Thursday with a sensory friendly matinee. It was a pretty regular show until sadly our Dew Drop got injured and caused a slight panic. The understudy was already injured too, so before the evening show there was a bit of a casting shuffle. Everyone managed to work through it though and it became a small hiccup that was quickly overcome. The evening show entailed a new quick change for me due to the change up of spots. I was now doing Chinese and flowers for B cast shows. It was a new challenge I was happy to take on.

Friday brought another two shows, nothing too strange happened. All I can say is that I was impressed with the resilience of the female dancers taking on extra roles and working their butts off. I started to feel comfortable in flowers and my stamina was much better. Everyone was happy to get another double show day out of the way.

Saturday, the final double show day. I was back to doing Chinese and flowers, filled with excitement and exhaustion. Between shows senior company had their annual Secret Santa reveal. I was very happy to receive some face masks, a calendar, a coloring book, and pens for my final gift from Emily. From the thrill of giving and receiving gifts everybody was slightly energized for the second show. During the first act plenty of people watched backstage very nervously. Somehow (it was never made explicitly clear how), the stage had become as slick as ice. Dancers were slipping and sliding all over. Luckily for the second act there is another set of marley to use, but that was definitely the most intense run of snow I had watched. All in all it was a successful double show day.

Then it was Sunday, the last day. I was doing flowers for all of my family and for the first time since opening night was feeling a little nervous. Warm up class was done on the very slick marley and you can bet that your girl wiped out during grand allegro. Hey better to fall warming up then onstage. They ended up not even using the first act marley due to it being one giant danger zone. The show began at 2:30 and the whole experience was over by 5:00. It went just as well as I could have hoped and to top it all off when the curtain came down the cast was “snowed” on one last time.

I know I already said it, but it all was very bittersweet. I can honestly say this was probably the best year of Nutcracker yet and saying good bye to it was hard. I almost always struggle with saying good bye to a show because even though you feel beaten down and stripped of all energy, it was worth it. You are surrounded by applause, love, and support then in a blink of an eye it is gone. Sadly all good things come to an end, so until next year Nutcracker.

nutcracker!

As I write this I am ready to just curl up and sleep. Saying I’m tired is an understatement. This last weekend was our fist set of shows and it was a time.

Thursday we were still wrapping up tech rehearsals and did a run through with the second cast in the afternoon. It was kind of a mess, I missed a call and my prop was falling and it was just overall bad. I was not looking forward to dress rehearsal that followed a couple hours later. Considering how the tech rehearsal was a flop dress actually went very well. With rehearsals all finished a bit before ten o’clock, I headed home to do schoolwork. I was up LATE. I had to practice two projects for school and then get to school earlier than usual.

Friday it was opening night at last, BUT I had to get through school first. Luckily both projects went very well and a good amount of weight I didn’t even realize I had felt was lifted. I felt fresh to go to the theater for our first official show. The first show went suitably, I felt good about it, but wasn’t quite where I wanted to be. It was a flowers show and I felt like my spacing could have been better. The audience was fantastic and at the end of the night I knew it wouldn’t be my best show, but it got me on the right track to kick Nutcracker off.

Saturday meant I could blissfully sleep in and I did, all the way to 9:40. I know, so crazy. Saturday got off to a rocky start with a full class on stage at 12:15. I get to the stage and there is a huge puddle (and I mean huge) about two feet from where I stand for barre. To add to the already sticky situation our pianist wasn’t there for about the first half hour. So it is twelve something on Saturday with a leak in the ceiling dripping on my bun as we dance in silence, not quite how you want to begin a double show day. Never the less everyone prevailed, our pianist came through, the leak from above was stopped, and the matinee went rather well. There was a minor freak accident of a long (about eight foot) ribbon getting caught on a costume leaving a ribbon and it’s stick laying on the stage waiting to trip someone during the second act. Thanks to one of the darling and smart little lambies in marzipan the broken prop was brought of stage with crisis averted. All of that and it wasn’t even 5 o’clock! After dinner the second show went much smoother and it was two successful runs of Chinese complete by the end of Saturday.

The single show on Sunday was welcome after a rather long Saturday. It was back to theater for class again, no puddle this time, and another run of flowers. Once again the audience was pretty incredible. I felt better about Sunday’s flowers, I was more in my skin and was happier with the way things went. The day felt very fast compared to the previous one. When the show was over everyone headed to the little cast party held primarily for the younger cast to get signatures and photos with the company. It felt different this year, with so many new company members and a very different senior company the party was a little strange for me. Two company members I had taken a picture with every year since my very first Nutcracker had retired and the faint bitterness of change was stinging. I got home by 5:30 and hit the books. 

Today, Tuesday, and Wednesday are all days off for me and it is school consumed. I’m studying and prepping what seems to be nonstop. Despite much review I did my first exam didn’t go as well as I’d hoped it would. Tomorrow I have an exam for English and History, the first of which starts at 8:00 am. I’m going to do my best to power through these last two days of school then it will be diving right back in to Nutcracker for three double show days in a row and then one last matinee. 

Who knows maybe with the craziness that has been ensuing I’ll write an extra post? Until next time, I wish all of you abundant sleep, good grades, and extra long applauses.

crunch time

One of the most stressful weeks of the year is upon me. It is not only tech week for Nutcracker, but also the week before exams for school along with end of semester projects needing to be complete. There are about ten different things going on all at once it seems.

As for injury, I’m hanging in there. Class itself is the worst part, when I’m not very warm and it hurts to do cambres forward or back. Last Friday, filled with guilt I sat out of center, frustrated. After physical therapy last Wednesday I had felt good during class and on Thursday not as good, but still felt capable. Sitting out on Friday felt horrible, I knew I should take it easy since the weekend would be crazy, but it was so defeating. Limiting what I do feels crappy even when it is for my well being. I need to keep my eye on the bigger picture and focus on progress. Newly needled, it’s time to get my mind in the right place to nip this injury in the butt.

This last weekend went relatively well all things considered, I naturally block out any pain while dancing my actual parts. It was two in-studio run thrus each on Saturday and Sunday. I was overall happy with my dancing, so it felt good to get through that.

Now it is stress city. I haven’t talked about school in a while, but it is a bit overwhelming at the moment. Two teachers through on some last minute big projects and studying for exams is also taking over. It is going to be notes and textbooks backstage or in the dressing room as I go through this weekend. To all my fellow dancer students in the midst of Nutcracker and finals, we got this.

I guess that is really all I have to share for now, but I might write again this week with tech week beginning and opening night on Friday!

christmas time

Well it has been a long week. Since I last wrote, things got a little scary for a time with my injury. I was told that my imaging tests had shown bone erosion in my hip and that the ligament could be pulling away. I had to go get an MRI and wouldn’t know the results for a couple days. It was nerve wracking. Depending on what they saw I may have had to drop out of Nutcracker and surgery could have even been a possibility. I was terrified, I went to the doctor for back pain and now I may need surgery?

Luckily, that wasn’t the case.  I got my results very quickly and was told I could do Nutcracker, this was such a relief. Though, I still don’t know what is going on with my hip. It was very frustrating though, not being allowed to dance at the possibility of there being a more severe injury and I sympathize for anyone who has to wait awhile for any sort of medical answers.

After that scare I began to gradually get back into classes, while it felt great, my back is still hurting. I powered through Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, then happily welcomed my physical therapy appointment today. It seems as if my back is doing all the work, all the time, so I began some strengthening today then ended with some needling and cupping.

I’m on the road to recovery, that is what matters. I have a follow up appointment for my hip next week and will be going to PT for my back in the meantime. 

As for Nutcracker, it is exciting to think we will be performing in less than two weeks. We may not perform as much as other companies do, but it is a lot of fun none the less. I’m very excited to be doing Chinese again in addition to flowers! With December here I’m starting to feel the Christmas spirit and I’ll be sure to update about Nutcracker, injury, and more. Happy Holidays!